Children with autism treated to Crowngate Christmas breakfast with Santa

A group of 20 lucky children and their families were invited to Crowngate Shopping Centre for a very special breakfast date, with none other than Santa and one of his elves.

Worcester’s retail hotspot, in partnership with the National Autistic Society Worcestershire Branch, hosted the accessible breakfast event over two weekends, where young children with autism enjoyed a fantastic, festive treat in a calm and welcoming environment.

Guests enjoyed a 90-minute meeting with Santa and his helper at the shopping centre’s Pod located near Iceland, where they tucked into a delicious breakfast served by the centre’s restaurants, Bill’s and Wildwood. The children also took part in interactive storytelling sessions and were able to find out if they had been good boys and girls by using a ‘naughty or nice’ finger scanner.

The youngsters all received a gift from Santa and were also able to tell him what is on their wish list. Mike Lloyd, Centre Manager at Crowngate Shopping Centre, said: “Christmas is a magical time, with lots of fantastic decorations, lights and music that many revel in. However, we are mindful that the colourfulness and sounds can be overwhelming to our visitors with autism and other sensory conditions.

“We are committed to making sure everyone who comes to Crowngate finds it warm and welcoming,” said Mike. “The accessible breakfast has been a brilliant event for children to become immersed in all the wonder of Christmas but in a space that is relaxing and suited to their needs.

“They all had a brilliant time and it’s a memory we’re sure will be cherished for many years to come. There’s not many people who can say they had a private breakfast with Santa and an elf!” added Mike. “Our most grateful thanks to National Autistic Society Worcestershire Branch for partnering with us, it’s been a highlight of the many Christmas activities we’ve had this year.”

Beryl Curtis, co-chair at the National Autistic Society Worcestershire Branch, said: “The accessible breakfast has been such a rewarding initiative to be involved with. The seemingly small things make such a difference to the little ones and their families. It has been an enjoyable event for all who attended, and we’d like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone involved.”